Karnataka CM Bommai arrives in Delhi today amid talk of change in Karnataka

Karnataka CM Bommai arrives in Delhi today amid talk of change in Karnataka

India News

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will leave for New Delhi on Tuesday amid speculation that the visit will result in changes in his Cabinet. Bommai is expected to meet the party’s top national leaders during the visit.

The trip, according to Bommai’s tour itinerary, is meant to meet Union ministers and showcase the ‘Invest Karnataka 2022 Global Investors Meet’, scheduled later this year. His return to Bengaluru on Wednesday has, however, been left open, suggesting that the visit is likely to involve discussions on changes in the state Cabinet.

Since Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Bengaluru on May 3 there has been speculation that BJP is contemplating changes in the Karnataka government, ranging from a Cabinet reshuffle to a restructuring.

Bommai had earlier indicated that he is awaiting a call from the party high command to work out the details for his government in the run-up to the Assembly polls next year. “I am going to Delhi tomorrow,” Bommai said on Monday without stating the purpose of his visit.

Former Karnataka chief minister B S Yediyurappa had last week said that he expects changes in the state Cabinet by May 10. The veteran leader had also stated that speculation that BJP is replacing Bommai with a new CM is “mostly rumours”.

Amid speculation about apparent changes in government, which has been going on for weeks now, there is confusion in BJP ranks on whether the party’s central leadership will effect wholesale changes or only minor changes will be carried out. The Bommai Cabinet has five vacancies at present against its full strength of 34 ministers.

A section of BJP leaders are of the view that Bommai’s continuation as CM has become untenable amid allegations of corruption and complaints of government inefficiency. The BJP, however, lacks viable alternatives to replace him and may opt for status quo until the state elections, say some leaders.

“There has been talk of changes in the Cabinet for a while but there is now an imminent possibility of a restructuring. There may be a new CM as well,” an aide to a senior minister said.

A former state minister who is now in the Union government is tipped to be a frontrunner in case of a CM change. “It is said that the minister has picked a new team to run the administration,” the minister’s aide said.

Bommai has made as many as eight trips to Delhi since becoming the CM nine months ago.

On April 30, senior BJP leader and organisation secretary B L Santhosh said at a party meeting that BJP has the strength to execute big changes in the party and government structures in the country.

The remarks intensified speculation that the party has major changes in mind for its government in Karnataka — on the lines of changes effected in Gujarat in 2021, when Vijay Rupani and his entire Cabinet were replaced by Bhupendra Patel and others.

Santhosh said: “I am not saying that this will happen everywhere but the BJP is able to make decisions that cannot even be envisaged by other political parties. Due to the confidence and will in the party, these decisions are possible. In Gujarat, when the chief minister was changed the entire cabinet was also changed. This was done with the intent to infuse freshness, and not because of any complaints.”

Earlier, following Amit Shah’s visit, Karnataka BJP in-charge Arun Singh had said that the question of a change of CM is hypothetical. “These are hypothetical questions, there is no answer,” he said. “Basavaraj Bommai is a common man working for the poor and farmers, under the PM.”

State BJP president Nalin Kateel had said that a change of CM is an illusion.

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